Plumber fitting a bathtap

Nearly half of home improvement jobs cancelled because of ‘pingdemic’

Needless cancellations have already cost kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installers millions of pounds and sown the seeds for months of disruption for consumers and industry, according to a survey by the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI).

The survey of more than 5,000 installers found that nearly half  (47 per cent) have had to cancel jobs because customers or installers have been ‘pinged’ by NHS Covid app. This means that millions of pounds have already been lost to the incomes of installers, who are mostly self-employed sole traders and small businesses, and lead times for jobs are already extended because of a shortage of skilled installers able to meet demand.

BiKBBI says the government should exempt skilled tradespeople operating safe working procedures in people’s homes from having to isolate automatically if they or their customers are pinged by the app.

CEO Damian Walters says: “Installers are taking a hit on their incomes that’s as unnecessary as it is unfair. They’ve spent the last year working to incredibly safe procedures, meaning that they could continue serving customers throughout the pandemic. For at least half of them to now have to stop working – and earning – as the rest of the country recovers just seems utterly ridiculous.

“The disruption for customers is also a real kick in the teeth for people who want to invest in their homes after such a tough time and could create a crisis for the industry. Jobs won’t be able to be rescheduled for many months, creating the risk of a wave of cancellations.

“Public safety and keeping the virus under control, of course, need to be the highest priority, which is why KBB installers introduced robust safe working procedures over the past year. Recognising this by adding them to the list of workers exempt from automatic isolation would be an incredibly sensible thing for the government to do.”

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